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Three counties combine effort for Tox Away Day

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Residents of three area counties can dispose of hazardous household waste in a safe and environmentally friendly manner Saturday, when the Clay-Owen-Vigo Solid Waste Management District hosts its annual Tox Away Day.

District workers will accept an array of dangerous waste including oil-based paint, antifreeze and mercury thermometers. Hazardous materials can be deposited at the Vigo County Fairgrounds from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The program was resurrected last year after an extended period of retooling.

"We wanted to restructure the program to maximize the result," said Janet Reed, Executive Director of the Clay-Owen-Vigo Solid Waste Management District.

Part of that restructuring included expanding the list of materials that will not be accepted on Tox Away Day. Reed said some items, including latex-based paint and batteries, are readily disposable through other channels, allowing district workers to concentrate their efforts on materials that pose a more immediate threat.

"Latex paints can be solidified--with sand, sawdust or cat litter--and thrown out with the trash," she said. Reed also listed numerous area locations for the disposal of household batteries, including Sam's Hardware, First State Bank and Lynn's Pharmacy.

"We basically focus in on hazardous wastes in liquid form, as well as some powdered pesticides and fungicides" said Reed. Liquid wastes, she said, have the most potential to affect underground water sources.

Underground water is contained in aquifers, subterranean layers of sand and gravel. Groundwater moves freely within an aquifer, and even a small, localized contamination can lead to widespread problems, according to online ecyclopedia Wikipedia.

Reed offered several suggestions for those who wish to scale back their dependence on household chemicals:

-Shop carefully--read labels before purchasing chemical cleansers, as comparable products may vary in chemical content.

-Buy only what you need--don't attempt to save a few pennies buying in bulk when you need only a small amount of product. The unused portion may cause a problem in the future.

-Use and store products safely in their original packaging-household chemicals should be readily identifiable. Unlabeled products are more likely to be used accidentally or improperly.

Proof of residency in Clay, Owen or Vigo county is required. The collection is restricted to household waste--businesses may not participate, but are encouraged to contact the Clay-Owen-Vigo Solid Waste District (800-387-3380) for a referral. Any questions concerning accepted and restricted items can also be directed to the district office.



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